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Thread: Northern Ireland (merged thread)

  1. #181
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default When politics fails, the police remain

    A wider commentary on Brexit and Northern Ireland has this stunning passage, with my emphasis:
    As its 20th anniversary looms within weeks, after all, the agreement is not functioning, with neither the Northern Ireland assembly and executive nor the North-South Ministerial Council in being.
    Indeed, what remains is the Police Service of Northern Ireland. Ironically, this is because policing was so difficult an issue in the talks leading to the agreement—going as it did, as with the decommissioning of paramilitary weapons, to the heart of the contest over the state—that it was passed to an impartial independent commission to solve. Informed by the region’s human-rights lobby born of the ‘troubles’, the consequent Patten report led to the old, overwhelmingly Protestant and ‘securitised’ Royal Ulster Constabulary being transformed into a police service founded on human-rights principles and committed to neighbourhood policing. Far from adequate, it is however the one institution—despite the still hugely controversial nature of Northern Ireland’s decades of lead—still standing.
    Link:https://www.opendemocracy.net/uk/bre...day-agreement?
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-22-2018 at 11:20 AM. Reason: 166,996v
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  2. #182
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    Default

    A rare public comment by a former PIRA volunteer on the success of British intelligence infiltration; he ends with:
    They didnít come out and say that they were penetrated. Yes, the IRA volunteers knew there was penetration, as that was par for the course, but I donít believe the volunteers on the ground knew the extent of the penetration, and to a large extent the leadership concealed the level of penetration from them.
    Link:https://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/cr...ltar-1-8402927
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  3. #183
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    Default How many murders can a police informer get away with?

    An excellent article on the history of informants after the Haggerty case and trial recently (see previous posts).
    Link:https://www.theguardian.com/news/201...get-away-with?
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  4. #184
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    Default A violent peace for some

    There have been 158 "security-related" deaths in Northern Ireland since the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, according to independent research. The majority of the deaths were murders carried out by republican and loyalist paramilitaries, who mostly targeted victims within their own communities....up until April of this year, republican paramilitaries were responsible for 74 deaths while loyalist paramilitaries were responsible for 71....There have been 68 Catholic civilians killed - 38 have been the victims of republican organisations operating within those same communities. "There's a further 22 who have been killed by loyalists and then two where attribution is not possible....But, in total, 41 loyalist paramilitaries have been killed. Every single one of them has been killed by other loyalist paramilitaries.
    Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-43862294?
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  5. #185
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    Default Northern Irish police to release Troubles-era report on informants

    Transparency of sorts after a legal action:
    Police have agreed to release a secret special branch report on agent-handling during the Troubles that allegedly protected paramilitary informants from arrest. The 1980 report, drawn up by the senior MI5 officer Sir Patrick Walker, is believed to have established agent-handling practices that have since been widely criticised as prioritising intelligence-gathering over other concerns.
    The Walker report was commissioned to improve intelligence penetration of paramilitary organisations in Northern Ireland when IRA activity was high.
    Link:https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/...rt-informants?
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 05-03-2018 at 07:29 PM. Reason: 177,282v
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  6. #186
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    Default Counter-Insurgency Against Kith and Kiní: Combat and Cohesion

    A short article, summarising a new book, and the full title of the article is 'Counter-Insurgency Against Kith and Kin’: British Army Combat and Cohesion in Northern Ireland'. The focus is on the early years:
    During my research for a book on small unit cohesion in Northern Ireland – comparing operational watchkeepers’ log-books, other unit reports and interviewing soldiers who served in Northern Ireland during the exceptionally violent years of 1971-1973 – I observed that the Army would often use hundreds, and occasionally thousands, of rounds of ammunition, in exchanges of fire with IRA units along the border.
    A reminder how bloody that period was for the British Army:
    the British Army suffered more operational fatalities in one year – 134 in 1972 – than in any year during the recent campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq.
    Link:https://defenceindepth.co/2018/05/07...thern-ireland/

    The book is actually titled 'An Army of Tribe: British Army Cohesion, Deviancy and Murder in Northern Ireland' and the author Edward Burke is a Professor at Nottingham University.

    A link to the book publisher's website found in the summary:
    The central argument of this book is that British Army small infantry units enjoyed considerable autonomy during the early years of Operation Banner and could behave in a vengeful, highly aggressive or benign and conciliatory way as their local commanders saw fit. The strain of civil-military relations at a senior level was replicated operationally as soldiers came to resent the limitations of waging war in the UK.
    Link to UK option:https://liverpooluniversitypress.co.uk/products/108172

    Published in the USA in August 2018:https://global.oup.com/academic/prod...cc=us&lang=en&
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 05-09-2018 at 06:38 PM. Reason: 178,342v
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  7. #187
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    Default Counter-Insurgency Against Kith and Kin: WoTR Review

    A wide-ranging review by a UK academic familiar with the issues, so a few sentences:
    On an autumn evening in late October 1972, Michael Naan was working on his isolated farm a few miles from the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic with Andrew Murray, a young hired laborer, when they were set upon, beaten, and stabbed to death.
    In his fascinating new book, An Army of Tribes: British Army Cohesion, Deviancy and Murder in Northern Ireland, Ed Burke explores why these soldiers committed the murders and what consequences their actions had for the local community. Burke places the actions of the soldiers in two overlapping contexts — the institutional framework of the British Army and the historical environment in which they found themselves deployed.
    An Army of Tribes is a rigorous work of painstaking scholarship that places the security dimension of the Northern Irish Troubles in much greater tactical and operational context than ever before. In assessing the micro-ethics of soldiering in such a local setting, Burke also provides us with a rich glimpse into how military operations shaped strategy, and vice versa.
    Link:https://warontherocks.com/2018/05/wh...urn-to-murder/
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 05-14-2018 at 08:26 AM. Reason: 179,463v
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  8. #188
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    Default Amnesty for British soldiers fuels division over dealing with Northern Irelandís past

    The "sore" of historical allegations rumbles on. There are many who argue on each side; should criminal allegations (including murder) from 'The Troubles' be investigated, indeed prosecuted today - especially after the amnesty to the paramilitaries in the Good Friday Agreement? Politics aside there is a current prosecution for a 1974 incident where a soldier shot a youth dead, amidst controversy.
    Link:https://theconversation.com/amnesty-for-british-soldiers-fuels-division-over-dealing-with-northern-irelands-past-96425?
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  9. #189
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    Default RUC told to put intelligence before arrests, reveals secret MI5 report

    One of the sources cited by Dr. Matchett is the "Walker Report", a document prepared in 1980-1981 by a then senior member of the British Security Service (MI5) and following a lengthy legal case a redacted copy is now in the public domain. It is relatively short and opens with:
    In January 1980 the Chief Constable commissioned a report - known as the Walker Report - on the interchange of intelligence between Special Branch and CID and on the staffing and organisation of units in C1(1) in Crime Branch.
    Link:http://www.patfinucanecentre.org/policing/walker-report

    The legal case is explained here:https://caj.org.uk/2018/05/01/psni-a...-rights-group/

    Two journalists from 'The Guardian' have written an overview, it starts with:
    A secret MI5 report that resulted in Northern Ireland’s police covertly prioritising intelligence-gathering over fighting crime has been made public after almost 40 years. The report resulted in detectives of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) – now the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) – being ordered never to arrest a suspected terrorist without consulting the force’s intelligence-gathering section.

    Detectives were also told that anyone who was arrested could be recruited as an agent rather than charged with a criminal offence.
    As a consequence, a number of British agents are now known to have been involved in murders, bombings and shootings, while continuing to pass on information about their terrorist associates.
    Link:https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/...thern-ireland?

    There are a number of similar MI5 reports cited which remain secret.

    Informant handling is always an activity fraught with risks, even more so in CT / COIN and 'The Troubles' lasted a very long time, with the UK fighting a very capable enemy, PIRA and often violent Loyalists who waged their own campaign.
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  10. #190
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    Default Moderator adds

    There is a current, parallel thread on intelligence in Northern Ireland, based on a book published in 2017. Which is mentioned in the post above copied over.
    Link:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...y-intelligence
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  11. #191
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    Default Before 'Bloody Sunday' there was Ballymurphy

    Two articles on an incident many had forgotten, it occurred just after Internment was introduced and in summary:
    More than 40 years after the shootings in a west Belfast neighbourhood, the Guardian has reconstructed the events surrounding what appears to be a killing spree by soldiers of the Parachute Regiment, just months before Bloody Sunday
    This is a 'long read', not too long and in places admits the Army were fired upon - before the disorder and the "killing spree":https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jun/26/-sp-ballymurphy-shootings-36-hours-west-belfast-northern-ireland-10-dead

    The second is based on a new film on the incident by Callum Macrae, a film maker with many awards:https://www.theguardian.com/commenti...-belfast-derry
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 3 Weeks Ago at 07:53 AM. Reason: 204,691v today
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  12. #192
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    Default Police Recorded Security Situation Statistics 1 September 2017 to 31 August 2018

    I rarely catch this publication and whilst the level of violence has dropped, it remains painful for many - mainly from "punishment" attacks - and that only 10% are charged rate for those arrested for terrorism.
    Link:https://www.psni.police.uk/globalass...ugust_2018.pdf
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 1 Day Ago at 12:11 PM.
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